As a recognised top-250 worldwide HSBC salesperson, a stockbroker, a bank manager and a mortgage consultant, Chris Schutrups gained valuable experience that he's used to create The Mortgage Hut. He talks to BQ about why everything starts with the customer.
Tell us about your business, what does it do?
We're a mortgage brokerage with a strong focus on the customer experience. Our focus is on offering an incredible customer journey. We do this from the point which we generate the new customer, typically digitally, all the way through the process using tech to make the process as streamlined as possible, whilst still ensuring we have a personal service and someone on hand.
What did you do before you started this business?
I began my career selling unregulated financial products, loans, bank accounts, credit cards for HSBC and within the first six months I was recognised as being in the top 250 in the world at HSBC. I then relocated to London to become a stockbroker in the city. I worked in the company for around a year and became a senior broker.
I have also worked as a bank manager and as a mortgage consultant in a very corporate role.
What inspired you to start up?
I was fed up of the customer just being a number, so decided I would change that. I bought a desk, laptop and mobile and decided to do mortgages my way; a customer-centric way. The Mortgage Hut is consistently one of the highest customer-rated brokerages in the UK and our approach to customer service has made us one of the leading firms in the industry.
How would you describe your business to your grandma?
We help consumers get the most suitable mortgage, ensuring they leave with a smile on their face!
Where do you get advice, support or help?
I looked around at other successful businesses that had been around a long time and took the time to learn and understand how their models worked. The parts I liked I tried to replicate, the stuff I didn't, I try and improve. Speaking to your customers is important, find out what they want and what makes it better for them. Then start building it out from there.
Finance is one of the most common barriers to starting up. How did you access the finance you needed?
I was lucky enough to have saved a little and I borrowed a small amount of money, around £10,000. I was able to cash flow the business from there and grow it from the revenues generated.
One key point - the most successful business owners I know plan not to take any money from the business for the first two to three years. One of the big mistakes made by business owners is that they use immediate profits as their personal piggy bank, which slows growth.
If you require more money to start a business, we are in a great period in time where you can seek angel investors, crowdfunding or borrow from other third parties, just beware, once you have investors they may want a say on where the business goes.
What has been your biggest achievement so far?
I'm lucky enough to have won a selection of awards, I work internationally as a consultant for fintech and financial services businesses and generally am privileged to have had such success.
Honestly though, my biggest achievement is going online and reading our customer reviews, there are thousands and I am so proud of the incredible service my teams offer.
How do you differentiate your business from others?
Quite simply, we put the customer at the heart of everything we do. If you're delivering a product customers want, with a service they love, you're already halfway there.
What’s it like to be your own boss?
It's an experience and a great learning curve. If you ever have an opportunity to run a business, do it. I've learnt so much over the last eight years, which would have taken me thirty years of employment to gain. I love it.
Where do you see your business in five years' time?
We're already a leader in the mortgage industry in the UK, I just want to continue that journey, to help as many customers as possible.
What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
Just do it! Ask questions, connect with like-minded people and take a (calculated) risk.
Plan well and work out the numbers. If it makes sense then through hard work and commitment you will achieve. You may have tough choices to make, but if you believe in what you are doing you really can make strides and be successful.
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